Old 01-08-2018, 09:57 AM #1 (permalink)
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Default Grief

Grief is such a strange process. You read about it, you hear other people talk about it, but it is not until you experience it that you realize how complex and unique it is.

It's close to the 6th month anniversary of my PALS' death. My grief has changed. Someone once told me about the numbness that eventually develops and I am at that stage now.

It is as if I have placed the past in a picture frame protected by a thick layer of glass that blocks emotion. I am constantly flooded by memories and I still think of my PALS every minute of the day, but memories don't hurt as much as they used to. I'm not sure if this is a male thing ("women grieve, men remarry") but it is a relief to not suffer as much anymore.

I have stopped trying to find an explanation for something that cannot be explained. Perhaps I have accepted the fact that I will never understand what happened.

To those of you who still feel the raw emotions of loss, rest assured things get better. It is unpredictable when this happens, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I think some sharp emotions will always pierce through the glass, but it becomes less frequent.

We only get one life to live...
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Old 01-08-2018, 04:50 PM #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Grief

It is interesting that you use the analogy of a picture frame. When my brother took his own life, someone described grief as being like a big picture of the deceased. At first it is touching you nose, you can't look through or around it, you see nothing else. As time goes on it moves away, a little bit at a time, until you start to see things at the edges. A little further on it moves far enough that you start to be able to see around it. At any time, an anniversary, a birthday, a song on the radio, a certain scent and it's right back at you nose. But as time goes on and the picture gets further away and smaller you start to see the world around you again. The picture gets small enough you can put it on the bookshelf. And it just becomes a part of who you are. And the day will come that the person's memory will bring a smile to your lips before it brings a tear to you eye. The picture will always be there, But they only died on one day, and there are more good memories than bad.
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Old 01-08-2018, 05:47 PM #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Grief

Wow. Two of the best posts ever placed on this site. Thanks. You both placed my own journey in perfect perspective.
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Old 01-08-2018, 05:47 PM #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Grief

Manhattanite....At first there was so much to be done. Once that was completed, gut wrenching grief set in. At 6 months I was numb and didnt remember much of the previous six months. Closing in on the year mark was Christmastime. Things got pretty ugly for a couple of months. I had to consciously make decisions for my future. One of them was ALLS wasnt going to control my life. It really helped to embrace that.
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Old 01-09-2018, 10:28 PM #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Grief

It's been three months and the grief is still very raw. It seems to be getting worse. I'll try to believe it will get better. Thanks for the posts. I haven't checked in for awhile - couldn't - and this was encouraging to read tonight.
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Old 01-10-2018, 09:43 AM #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Grief

I don't cry as much as before, but I can't find my place in this world. I continually think of my husband and all the dreams we had together and how secure I felt with him.
I am struggling. It feels like days are longer. I am so lost. Things at work are so slow and I feel that because of the situation they have left me isolated, no projects to work on.
I am sorry I wish I could say Things get better , not in my world
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Old 01-12-2018, 04:20 PM #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Grief

Adriana and Judy so sorry that you are suffering.
One thing that helped me when I was at the deepest point of grieving was to think of grief as being sick with a bad cold: you suffer through horrible symptoms and you feel like you want to die but eventually you will heal and feel better. I feel that I had to process and feel everything with the purpose of healing eventually. Although honestly I will never be the same person I was before.
And only yesterday I put on a winter coat my PALS had not worn since last year and I found his everyday stuff like coins, receipts, etc. in the pockets and that made me cry.
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Old 01-13-2018, 06:38 AM #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Grief

My PALS, my baby brother whom lived with me throughout his journey, has been gone almost 4 months now. I still feel pretty raw as well but have gotten through the anxiety that would start at night when I turned the lights out. I'd lay and wait for him to ring his bell for me for help.i waited. That has passed but I find I still have a cry daily when I think of him. I tell my self that he is better off now but I miss his presence terribly. The hardest thing seems to be that the ALS journey is like a movie reel in my mind. My mind wanders to the process we went through together (especially that last month) and the wasting away of his young body. I sometimes feel like that is something that will never leave me although on my positive days I know it will get easier. It's all still so fresh.
Thank you Manhattenite and Vincent for sharing. I'm looking forward to the smile on my lips instead of tears in my eyes.
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Old 01-15-2018, 06:48 PM #9 (permalink)
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Hugs Jlynn! We will get through this!
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Old 02-06-2018, 12:52 PM #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Grief

Well, I was mistaken to think grief was some sort of linear process. It is now February and several things have happened that have thrown me back into deep grief - and I was doing so well!

It all started when I sat down to design my PALS' gravestone. It is something I had been postponing but I finally decided to do it. Having to decide what words to write and what the stone will look like have made me feel incredibly sad, and recurring thoughts about my PALS fill my days...

Then last week we found out that because my PALS failed to file a form, his nephew who was his beneficiary for his city pension will get $0. When my PALS had to file this form he was already about to enter hospice and I think he completely forgot about it. I went to the pension to try to fight this to no avail and now my sister in law is in talks with lawyers to see if anything can be done. But this filled me with great sadness because it is yet one more think that this debilitating disease took away!

Finally yesterday I found out that my mailman had assumed that I did not want to receive my PALS' mail and on his own initiative has been returning to sender "with no forwarding address" all the mail sent to my PALS for the last four months! So I missed his W2, his 1099's, etc, which I need to file our joint return. I confronted the mailman and he says he did it because I once returned an unopened envelope to the ALS Organization (I did it because they were completely unhelpful and I didn't want to receive their mail). My jaw dropped and I told him, "I was his husband, what makes you think I did not want his mail! God knows what other important letters were sent that now you have returned!" I went to the post office today to complain but they were indifferent. This has opened the floods of grief as yet another injustice, as if my PALS were being erased.

I feel deflated, conquered, reduced to a flat pancake. I am trying hard to lift my spirits but once again I have to do this all on my own now that I don't have my PALS as my supporter. I have to rely on my own strength and this gets exhausting.

End of rant.
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Old 02-06-2018, 02:46 PM #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: Grief

Oh, Manhattan, you have good reason to feel fresh grief, and it has not been that long for you.

Put aside paperwork for a few days and do something unusual for you. Rest, regroup, your strength will return. You still have the same purpose in life and the same ability to reach it, but the byproduct of having your husband as your perpetual cheerleader is that sometimes you will feel his physical absence more keenly when you imagine what he would say (like to that lame postman or the pension clerk!).

Best,
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Old 02-06-2018, 05:57 PM #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: Grief

So frustrating that the mailman would make that decision for you...

We never know what path grief is going to take. Just when we think we are doing better, we aren't.

This too shall pass, probably over and over again but it will pass.

Hugs!
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Old 02-07-2018, 10:09 AM #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: Grief

Thinking of you Manhattanite, it's hard enough without it being added to by illogical people when their decisions affect us so deeply. Kate
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Old 02-07-2018, 12:12 PM #14 (permalink)
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Default Re: Grief

Oh Manhattanite I am so sorry for your recent struggles. So wrong of the postman to make a decision for you, without your consent. When you are feeling up to it, I would email friends, family and businesses that his mail was unknowingly returned by a postman without authorization and if there is anything important please mail again to your attention. A pain, but maybe necessary.

Hugs to you as you go through this rough patch,

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Old 02-07-2018, 06:13 PM #15 (permalink)
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Default Re: Grief

ALS = the disease that just keeps on giving ... or maybe it's taking ...

Grief is definitely not linear! I hope you bounce back up to a better level quickly - that is one thing I found is that after the first couple of years the ups and downs became quite fast and the staying level in between lasts much longer! But then grief is very personal and how it is for one is not how it is for the next. Sending you hugs xxx
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